Cold, cloudy Christmas weather is forecast to give way to brief sunshine on Wednesday and then to a chance of accumulating snow later in the week for the Lincoln and Omaha metropolitan areas.
Nationally, post-holiday travel could be complicated by a massive storm moving across the southern tier of the country before it heads northeast, though there's still some uncertainty about the storm's track.
Southern storms are ushering in an unusual threat of Christmas Day tornadoes along the Gulf Coast.
Click here for the immediate metro area forecast.
Here are more details about this week's weather:
Christmas in the Midlands
Highs in the low to mid-teens, windy, with below-zero wind chills across much of Nebraska and Iowa. A chance of snow in western Nebraska.
Looking at New Year's Eve
Continued colder-than-normal weather in the Midlands. “Normal” for New Year's Eve is an overnight low in the low teens and a New Year's Day high around freezing. Forecasts this far out are likely to change, but no major storms or problems with wind chills are expected in Nebraska and Iowa.
Ice jam flooding
Minor flooding is occurring along the North Platte River near North Platte and Lewellen. Sudden fluctuations in river levels are possible, but the current forecast calls for only minor flooding as the cold continues.
Rocky Mountain powder
Skiers planning a holiday trip west will find four inches to a foot of fresh powder at ski resorts in the Rockies. The downside: treacherous driving conditions on Christmas morning.
White Christmas 'treat'
A rare “treat” is in store for the Oklahoma-Texas-Arkansas corridor. Fresh snowfall is forecast in an area that typically sees a white Christmas in less than 5 percent of years. Oklahoma City could get hammered by sleet and blowing snow. Little Rock, Ark., could see today's rain transition to snow by evening. Oklahoma City hasn't had a white Christmas since 1914, and in Little Rock it's been since 1926. Dallas might even see flurries.
Christmas Day tornadoes
Severe weather is forecast today along the Gulf Coast, with a higher-than-usual threat of tornadoes in southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. There's even potential for long-lived tornadoes because the bad weather could last most of the day. Minus the tornado risk, the potential exists for significant wind damage.
Post-holiday travel headaches
No problems are forecast in the central Great Plains, but six to 12 inches of snow are forecast for the Northeastern U.S. Wednesday evening into Thursday. Heavy rains could mix with snow and ice for the Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia areas, into New York. For the latest on road conditions, dial 511 or visit www.safetravelusa.com.
Midlands air travel
Eppley Airfield and other Midlands airports are on schedule and anticipate minimal trouble from the storm moving across the southern Plains and into the Northeast. Problems should be lessened by the ability to reroute affected flights through other major hubs.
Sources: National Weather Service, AccuWeather Inc., Omaha Airport Authority
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